Over the past two years, our Administration Assistant Natasha, has been undertaking a Modern Apprenticeship in Business and Administration and has written blogs about her experience. At the end of last year she successful secured a new job with Kyloe Partners as a Marketing Assistant. Here, in her final blog, Natasha reflects on what she has learned during her time as a Modern Apprentice.
My time as Modern Apprentice Admin Assistant for DYW Orkney has been amazing! It has given me the opportunity do the types of work I enjoy, learn in the way that suits me best and I have gotten to stay in Orkney.
What skills have you developed during your Modern Apprenticeship?
Minute taking has been a great skill to learn and develop. When I stared my Modern Apprenticeship, the only meeting I had ever sat in was my S6 Charities Committee Meeting, so I was quite nervous to minute one. For my first meeting, I asked my Manager, Rachel, to take some notes too just in case I missed any information which she was happy to do. This was really helpful as I soon realised that my chosen method; handwriting notes, was not the best option for me to choose as I could not write quick enough. From then on, I typed my minutes.
I find that colour coding helps me to differentiate my work, so I would create a Word Document with the agenda points in different colours to help me keep organised. To take notes, I would use bullet points during the meeting which allowed me to get as much of the meetings talking points on paper and then after the meeting, I used these bullet points to write in full. I minuted this way until my final two meetings in November when I finally developed my skill enough to type the majority of the minutes at the meeting. Learning to minute meetings has allowed me to help other departments in the college and has also allowed me to become the Secretary to Young Enterprise in Orkney.
Learning how to use the different social media platforms has been really interesting. When I started, I didn’t realise how important social media is in the world of work nowadays. DYW Orkney uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and each has a different audience, so I learned how to cater content to each audience. To help me learn, I made use of the DigitalBoost courses that Business Gateway offer, which gave me more insight on how to use the platforms, how to plan and create content and gave me great tips on different programmes that I could use to create content. I particularly like using ‘Canva’ to create visuals for social media especially when I made the fact file images for the Sector Spotlight Campaign.
The skill I have enjoyed developing the most is organising meetings and events. I love making a plan for an event and then seeing it take shape. I really enjoy creating press releases, images, posters and presentations and liaising with venue management to make the day perfect. Working at the event is also great fun as I get to speak with a range of people and I sometimes gave presentations, which I chose as part of my SVQ work.
How did your Modern Apprenticeship help prepare you for your next role?
My Modern Apprenticeship with DYW Orkney has been a great way to meet and talk to employers. The DYW Orkney Regional Group Board are all employers and we work with lots of different businesses events. This has been fantastic for expanding my network and has gotten me used to communicating with lots of different people, so I am not nervous anymore. After all, they are just people!
I now know what my key strengths and skills are: I am passionate and highly driven and I have excellent organisational skills, I am skilled at minute taking and I am creative which I use to produce interesting written and verbal content for DYW Orkney’s website, social media and events. Plus, I am really good at speaking which I definitely have done a lot of when giving presentations and helping young people and employers at our events.
This all prepared me for when I found that Kyloe Partners was recruiting for a Marketing Assistant. I knew I really liked the company from working with them at our events and I knew Marketing was exactly the right fit for me. When looking at the job description and person specification, I was saying ‘yep that’s me’ and ‘whoop whoop, I have loads of experience doing that’ so I started editing my CV on Canva and wrote my cover letter to them. Then I was invited to an interview and got offered the job!
Did you receive any help preparing for your interview?
Yes, my manager Rachel helped me prepare for my interview. Rachel was really supportive when I told her I had applied for the Marketing Assistant role at Kyloe Partners and offered to mock interview me. I jumped at the chance of the mock interview and I am really glad I did because it made a massive difference to my confidence and I was able to practice and adapt my answers.
Rachel used the job description and person specification to ask me questions about my experience and knowledge which I was then able to answer. We did three practice interviews, and by the end I felt prepared and confident which helped me relax quicker in the real interview and be confident in my answers.
Do you have any advice to those who are thinking on applying for this Modern Apprenticeship?
Yes, apply for it! Even if you don’t have all the requirements, you may have the knowledge from other qualifications or experiences. I didn’t have National 5 Maths - although I sat the exam twice or an Administration subject at National 5 but I had similar business knowledge from my Higher Design and Manufacture qualification.
We are currently recruiting for a new Modern Apprentice to join the DYW Orkney team, if you are interested in this position please visit My Job Scotland to apply. If you would like more details about the role, contact Rachel Scarth, Project Manager, on (01856) 569 352 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
I am the former Administration Assistant for DYW Orkney. Whilst in this role I completed my SVQ Level 2 and Level 3 in Business and Administration.